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RE: Can XForms handle rich text?

From: Mark Birbeck <Mark.Birbeck@x-port.net>
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2003 17:23:30 +0100
Message-ID: <E3ED00A7C285EE408679DE2A26D1C7810148F6EA@S007.x-port.net>
To: 'Robert Simmons' <derisor@arcor.de>
Cc: www-forms@w3.org

Robert,

You wrote:
> Why would you want to? XForms is a model for data entry and is not
> related to presentation logic or data processing at all. Mixing them
> would be ... bad. In fact the separation of presentation and data entry
> model is at the core of the driving force for XForms.

I think the original question was perfectly legitimate. Whilst it is true
that XForms has as a goal the separation of presentation and data, this is
only at the level of the mark-up. At the core of XForms is the desire to be
*very* specific in terms of actual run-time presentation. So if a user is
French, they should see a French calendar when asked for a date, and if they
are Japanese they should see a Japanese one. If they are blind they should
have a voice speak to them, and be able to make their selection by speaking.
Of course at no point in our mark-up should we need to mention French or
Japanese calendars, or voice systems - we simply ask for the ability to
input a date - and that is the core of the separation to which you refer.

So, as long as data gets transferred to the instance as (for example):

    <my:article>&lt;b&gt;hello&lt;/b&gt; &lt;i&gt;mum&lt;/i&gt;</my:article>

then it doesn't matter how the user entered it. If it is easier for a user
of a visual system to highlight some text and then press 'B' on a toolbar to
make it 'bold', then let them do that. And if it should be done with a
right-mouse menu, then do that too. As I said before, let's be very specific
in our run-time rendering, and agnostic in our mark-up.

How we actually indicate this in a general way will probably be established
as people start to use XForms more and more. One possibility might be to
agree some values for the @appearance attribute:

    <xforms:textarea ref="my:article" appearance="widgets:rich-text">
        <xforms:label>Please type your article</xforms:label>
    </xforms:textarea>

On one platform "widgets:rich-text" might refer to a Microsoft Word control
in the form, and on another it might be Open Office. Note one of the nice
features of XForms here, in that since @appearance is only a hint, if the
device executing the form hasn't got a rich-text editor on it, then we just
fall back to an ordinary xf:textarea control.

Another possibility might be for XForms processors to be configured to
invoke a rich-text editor in the same way that a date control is
instantiated, and all you would need is to define some schema type in your
instance data and bind it to the correct handler.

Now that XForms 1.0 is stable we have a strong foundation onto which to
layer features like this - there are some exciting possibilities ahead!

Regards,

Mark


Mark Birbeck
Co-author Professional XML and
Professional XML Meta Data,
both by Wrox Press

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Received on Friday, 29 August 2003 12:23:37 GMT

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